FMCSA Grants Waste Management Holdings Inc HOS ELD Reporting Exemption
The FMCSA Decision
FMCSA announces its decision to grant Waste Management Holdings, Inc.'s (WMH) request for exemption from the requirement that short-haul drivers utilizing the records of duty status (RODS) exception return to their normal work-reporting location within 12 hours of coming on duty. The exemption enables all of WMH's drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to collect waste and recycling materials to use the short-haul exception but return to their work-reporting location within 14 hours instead of the usual 12 hours. FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and the public comments and has determined that the exemption, subject to the terms and conditions imposed, will likely achieve a level of safety that is equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.
Waste Management Holdings Inc. Request for Exemption
Drivers qualifying for the hours-of-service (HOS) short-haul exception in 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1) are not required to maintain a record of duty status (RODS) on-board the vehicle, provided that they return to their normal work reporting location and are released from work within 12 hours after coming on duty [49 CFR 395.1(e)(1)(ii)(A)]. A driver who exceeds the 12-hour limit loses the short-haul exception and must immediately prepare RODS for the entire day, often by means of an electronic logging device (ELD). Waste Management Holdings, Inc. (WMH) seeks an exemption to allow its drivers to continue to qualify for the short-haul exception up to the 14th hour after coming on duty.
WMH seeks the exemption for approximately 18,000 drivers in 84 separate subsidiaries or affiliates who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to collect waste and recycling materials. These drivers routinely qualify for the short-haul exception in 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1); however, occasionally they cannot complete their duty day within 12 hours.
WMH states that ELDs delay and distract its drivers working to collect waste and recycling materials because they require extensive interaction. As a result of frequent stops to pick up trash, WMH's drivers are required to interact with the ELD hundreds if not thousands of times a day. WMH asserts that ELDs are not designed for such operations and that they lack a provision for blocking service time. WMH further states that the ELDs do not accurately capture the duty status of its drivers. WMH has been actively working with its provider to improve ELD performance in this environment, but that progress has been limited. WMH also asserts that the excessive driver-ELD interaction impacts “driver safety and the safety of the communities we serve.”
WMH notes that certain CMV drivers may already operate up to 14 hours without forfeiting short-haul status, for example those in the ready-mixed concrete industry [49 CFR 395.1(e)(1)(ii)(B))] or the asphalt-paving business [83 FR 3864, January 26, 2018]. WMH asserts its operations are similar to these industries because its drivers spend a significant portion of their days conducting non-driving duties. WMH anticipates no reduction in safety from the exemption requested, and a potential for increased safety due to reduced driver distraction.
WMH cites its fatigue management program as further evidence that operations with the exemption in place would equal or exceed the level of safety under the current HOS regulations. This program includes the use of video event recorders triggered by unusual events suggestive of driver fatigue, like aggressive braking, steering, or acceleration. When WMH's assessment of the recording indicates that driver fatigue is involved, WMH managers may discipline the driver.
The exemption is applicable from October 22, 2018, through October 22, 2023.